The campaign of Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate and TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz claimed that his Democratic opponent, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, wouldn’t have experienced a stroke if he had “ever eaten a vegetable in his life.” This statement was made after Fetterman allegedly had a stroke and was taken to the hospital.
The comments were made not long after a video of Oz addressing growing consumer expenses went viral. In the video, he incorrectly pronounced the name of a regional supermarket chain while talking about the cost of “crudité.”
Just a few days before the primary election in May, Fetterman had a stroke. Since then, he has been slowly making his way back onto the campaign trail in a contest in which, according to current polls, he holds a commanding lead over Oz.
Rachel Tripp, his high-ranking communications adviser, made some comments to Insider during its coverage of Oz. She said, “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke, and he wouldn’t be in the position of having to lie about it constantly.” Insider was reporting on Oz at the time.
The Fetterman campaign issued a press release in which they referred to the remark as “unhinged and irresponsible.” They also highlighted a letter signed by more than one hundred Pennsylvania physicians. They stated that Oz practices poor medicine “by promoting unproven, ill-advised, and at times potentially dangerous treatments.”
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Later, Fetterman brought the Oz campaign into disrepute for the attack. On Tuesday night, he posted a tweet in which he said, “I know politics can be nasty, but even then, I could ‘never’ imagine ridiculing someone for their health challenges.” He acknowledged that he was aware that politics could be unpleasant.
I had a stroke. I survived it. I’m truly so grateful to still be here today.
I know politics can be nasty, but even then, I could *never* imagine ridiculing someone for their health challenges. pic.twitter.com/0fJHESjt4l
— John Fetterman (@JohnFetterman) August 24, 2022
Oz stood in the vegetable area of what he dubbed a “Wegners,” an apparent mix of regional supermarket chains Redner’s and Wegmans, in an effort to show growing consumer expenses and the price of crudité in a video that was recently revived, received widespread criticism, and went viral.
The answer that Fetterman gave on social media was savage. He said, “In Pennsylvania, we call this a veggie tray.” The campaign reported that it was able to generate $500,000 in a short amount of time after the video was released. Oz subsequently explained his incorrect pronunciation as being the result of tiredness.
A recent update from the independent Cook Political Report moved the rating for the Pennsylvania Senate race from “toss-up” to “lean Democrat.” Oz secured support from former President Donald Trump, which proved to be the deciding factor in the Republican primary race.